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Birthday bash honors pets, proceeds to benefit Fort Myers shelter

Public invited to April 25 event

April 22, 2015
By CRAIG GARRETT ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

It began with an anonymous donation handed out of a car window.

Eleven years later the Lily & Co. birthday bash for the shop's four-legged door-greeters has evolved into a big annual celebration for pets and pet-lovers, with the proceeds benefiting abandoned, rescued and adopted dogs and cats. The event last year raised some $13,000 for the Animal Refuge Center in North Fort Myers.

The Lily & Co. celebration on April 25 will this year include a canine-themed fashion show, pet-themed artwork and prints from the vintage-style artist Myra Roberts (pet portrait pricing details), clothing and fashion from the J. McLaughlin outlet, caricature drawings by Rafael Diez, photography, fun activities, giveaways, doggie treats, refreshments and pet kissing booths, raffle prizes including a diamond dog-bone pendant worth $800 by K.C. Designs. Bailey's will cater the event.

Article Photos

The Lily & Co. birthday bash on April 25 includes artwork, fashion, giveaways and an homage to pets. Proceeds to benefit a Fort Myers animal shelter. Islanders are invited to join the day’s festivities.


Dr. Patty Curtis from Coral Veterinary Clinic, the other family doctor on Sanibel, will be on hand to answer pet owner's questions and Island Grooming will be giving "pet-icures." There will be a best-dressed dog contest at 2:30 p.m. First, second and third place prizes are to be awarded.

The event also celebrates the birthdays of Lily & Co. red labs Gracie and Angel, Lily & Co. regulars at the Tarpon Bay shop.

Proceeds benefit the Animal Refuge Center, a North Fort Myers no-kill shelter for abandoned or rescued dogs and cats. The compound treats, adopts or holds hundreds of dogs and cats, each in the breezy compound living a dignified life with medical care and volunteers looking after their needs. Many of the animals are lifers, others suffer from serious illnesses. Medical care and food are costly. The birthday bash in the last decade has raised more than $50,000 to benefit the shelter.

The concept of a birthday party for Lily the labradoodle is the brainchild of Lily & Co. co-owner Karen Bell. Her partner, Dan Schuyler, recalls a woman at the first event pulling her car into the store lot, handing him a check for $3,000, driving off. As astonishing, he said, hundreds of islanders and their pets arrived to help celebrate Lily's first birthday, to share in helping the often helpless.

"All of a sudden these dogs and their owners just showed up. My jaw dropped," Schuyler said of the initial response to the event. "The generosity of Sanibel and Captiva, this place amazes me.

Raffle tickets can be purchased in advance at $5 each or six for $25, available at Lily & Co. Proceeds to benefit ARC, where volunteers are always welcome.

The four-legged trio of Lily, Gracie and Angel extends an invitation to their birthday party from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 25 under a big tent at Lily & Co. Jewelers, 520 Tarpon Bay Road. Details are at or (239) 472-2888.



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